About 3 or 4 years ago, I managed to find a decent deal on a video projector on Craigslist for about $200. Admittedly, the projector’s big and bulky, and the picture lacks the quality of even today’s low-end high-definition televisions. But, the kids enjoy “family movie night” on “the big screen,” and I like to use the projector for presentations and other functions.
My biggest problem is that the projector only has a VGA input, which means I can only play videos from a computer. That sucks, especially when you want to watch DVDs or digital movies. Obviously, I can hook up my Chromebook to the projector with a HDMI to VGA adapter (Amazon has a cheap one), or my tablet via a micro-HDMI to VGA cable (Amazon, again) — plus you’ll have to use the device’s Bluetooth or line out jack for sound. Side note: I also realize that a new television or projector would solve the forthcoming “problem” I’m going to mention.
But I really want to connect Chromecast to the projector, especially with the many different media options and activities games available. However, if you use one of the many available adapters you won’t have any audio. That’s fine for drawing pictures or playing Dehumanize Your Friends, but doesn’t work when you want to watch Netflix or a movie from Google Play.
So, after searching the interwebs for answers, I came across this HDMI to VGA adapter with audio output.
This device converts the HDMI signal from your Chromecast into a VGA signal, that’s now playable on my projector. Plus, the audio gets extracted from the HDMI signal and routed to external speakers. I have a cheap pair of desktop speakers, which sounded awful, but my Oontz Angle played Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, wonderfully.
Obviously, since you’re compressing the HDMI signal, the picture quality isn’t going to come out perfect — we use a sheet for our screen, so I’m not complaining.
The adapter comes “plug and play” ready; meaning you stick the Chromecast into the HDMI end, attach a 3.5mm audio cable (included), and plug in the VGA cable. The device doesn’t require power to operate (though you’ll need some for the Chromecast), so it’s portable virtually anywhere.
I’m now anxious to play around and see how I can use this adapter for more than just Friday movie night.
The adapter may also breathe more life into a larger, non-HDMI device, like a computer monitor. In fact, one idea I’m playing around with is to mount one of the old VGA monitors on my desk on the wall to play movies in my office. At $11, this dongle is pretty awesome. Also, if you’re interested, you can find the adapter in white ($8.59) or pink ($8.59). I preferred black to match my Chromecast.